With 7 rounds played, we are at the mid way point of the 2005 Linares
got to admit, it has been an exciting tournament. We saw some nice wins and
some incredible saves. Hangin has come up with a new award. Hangin
just finished the annual White Knight Awards and he looking to dish out
some new honors. So Linares is the best place to start. Lets
call this new award the ATABOY. When you get an ATABOY, it's kind
of like getting a pat on the backside with a accompanying "ATABOY".
It's for a job well done. ATABOYS have more to do with hustle then
just winning. I am thinking that maybe the ATABOY ought to be used to decide
tiebreakers, provided that blitz play off is not used.
deserves 4 ATABOYS. He is in first place with 4
points, with 2 wins, 4 draws, no loses. First place is where we expect the
Number one player to be. Kasparov is showing that his win in the Russian
Championship was not fluke. Kramnik said Kasparov is in crisis. I
don't see it. But there is plenty of chess to be played.
1) He's got to get one for leading the tournament by a half of
2) He gets another one for his nice save, with black, against Anand in round 6.
Kasparov has nerves of steel. Not many people could handle the pressure
that Anand put on Kasparov all game long. Kasparov was able to pull a
perpetual check out of his bag of tricks. He needed magic to stop Anand's
passer, which was one move from
queening. Kasparov was able to offer his bishop and the treat of his own
passed pawn to hold Anand at bay.
3) He gets another for his nice combinational finish to defeat the hometown
boy, Vallejo Pons in round 3. From the black side of the board,
Kasparov used several combinational ideas to finish off this young talent.
It started with a discovery attack on Vallejo Pons rook. Kasparov then
took advantage of an overworked defender and finished it off with a nice
4) He gets another for his nice win over Michael Adams in round 5.
From the white side of the board, Kasparov won a pawn in the middle
game. Kasparov outmaneuver Adams in a queen and rook
He deserves 4 ATABOYS. He is tied for 2nd place with Anand
with 3.5 points, with 2 wins, one loss, and 3 draws. Topalov is
definitely an exciting player. He certainly deserves the number 3 rating
spot. He is on Hangin's radar.
1) He gets his first for his win from the white side of the board
against Michael Adams in round 1. Topalov survived Adams dubious Kingside
attack. Topalov turns the table and uses his own heavy artillery to force
Adams to resign.
2) He gets another for his heroic failed effort, with black, against Anand
in round 2. You can definitely get an ATABOY in a losing effort. No
question about it, Topalov had his chances to win or save that game. It was a rook and minor piece
endgame. It was Anand rook and bishop vs. Topalov's rook and
knight. Both sides had connected offside passed pawns. It was
unclear as to who was going to win this one. However it was Anand passer
that would dictate the results of this game. Topalov made it very
interesting until the very end. His connected passed pawns got very close, however Anand
bishop kept then from queening.
3) He gets another for his heroic drawing effort against Peter Leko
in round 4. This was another exciting endgame melee. Topalov, with white,
had the toughest defender in the business on the ropes all game long. Had Topalov
been playing any other player, I am sure he would have won. Topalov had
won a pawn in the middle game. The game evolved into Topalov's
queen, rook, bishop and 4 pawns (2 were offside passers) vs. Leko's queen,
rook, bishop and three pawns (1 outside passer). Topalov used his pawns to
batter Leko's king position. Meanwhile Leko broke open the A-file and
threatened to use his Queen and rook to give mate along the A-file.
Topalov had to knight a pawn in order to give check to prevent Leko
from mating his king. Topalov was forced to get the heavy artillery
off the board by forcing the queens off. This split Topalov connected
passers. The game evolved into Topalov's rook and two isolated pawns vs. Leko's
rook and one pawn. Leko used his more advanced pawn to keep the game under
control and the draw in hand.
4) He gets his fourth one for his win, with the white pieces, against hometown boy Vallejo Pons in round 6. This was a wild opposite castling Sicilian.
Topalov castled queenside and Vallejo Pons went kingside. Both sides
started their pawn storms. In these kinds of position, time is everything.
It is usually whoever gets there first wins. Vallejo Pons stormed Topalov
king position first. Vallejo Pons sacked knight was sitting on Topalov
King's lap. Vallejo had four pieces attacking Topalov's naked king.
However Topalov had his own queen-bishop battery ready to give mate. How
Topalov survived this attack is any ones guess. Topalov turned the tables
on his young challenger and had his own set of pieces attacking Vallejo
Pons king. It would be Topalov's storm that would prove more deadly.
Topalov ended the game with a pawn advance leading to a discovered
attack, which threatened to give mate and to win a
He deserves 2 ATABOYS. Anand is tied for 2nd place with 3.5
points, with 1 win, 5 draws, and no loses. He got Kasparov in deep
trouble. That game decided the lead so far. Anand will be tested by
Kasparov in the 2nd half. Anand is number two in the world and that's
where he stands in this tournament.
1) He gets one for his nice game with Kasparov. From
the white side of the board, Anand got Kasparov in deep trouble in a Sveshnikov
in round 6. Anand is one of the few players in the world who can get a
Kasparov, Kramnik or Leko in trouble.
2) He gets another one for his great win over Topalov. Anand
with white won a nice endgame in round 2. This game was already
described above. Anand is another cool customer under fire.
He deserves 1 ATABOY. He is currently sitting tied
for fourth place with 3 points, with no wins, 5 draws and no losses.
Kasimdzhanov showed every one at the 2004-Libya KO that he could handle
the bottom half of the top 10. Well he's held his own against the top half
of the top 10 here at Linares.
1) He gets his first one with a nice drawing effort, with black, against
the great Garry Kasparov in round 2. Kasimdzhanov hung tough even though
he had to sac the exchange for a pawn. The game evolved into
Kasimdzhanov's knight and 5 pawns vs. Kasparov rook and three isolated
pawns. They fought on until it was Kasimdzhanov's Knight and pawn, two
squares from queening vs. Kasparov rook and f2 pawn. Kasimdzhanov advanced
passer ruled the day and he forced the draw.
Peter Leko :
He deserves 1 ATABOY. He is currently sitting tied for
forth place with 3 points, with no wins, 5 draws and no losses. I
wonder if Peter is still feeling the affects of his great effort in
1) He gets his first with his heroic effort and goal line stand
against Topalov in round 4. This great save was already described above.
Recently in other tournaments and matches, Leko
has made some great saves against Anand and Kramnik. He has the reputation
as one of the toughest players to defeat in the world.
Michael Adams :
He deservers 1 ATABOY. He is currently sitting in sixth
place with 2.5 points, with one win, two losses and 3 draws.
1) He gets his first one from the white side of the board, with his win
over the local hometown kid in round 4. Adams took advantage of the open
files that Vallejo Pons created. Adams played on both sides of the
board. One of his pigs invaded the 7th rank of Vallejo Pon's queenside.
Adams then spearheaded a kingside attack with his queen. His knights
proudly dominated from central outposts. Vallejo was able to stop the kingside attack, however Adams had created a deadly offside passer. This proved to
be too much for the local hometown kid.
Francisco Vallejo Pons:
He deservers 1 ATABOY. He is currently
sitting in last place with 1.5 points. with no wins, 3 draws and 3
Its go to be tough playing the worlds best players, especially
in front of your hometown fans.
Even though Vallejo Pons is in last place with three draws. He does
carry his lunch box to work everyday and puts in a full day at the office.
1) He gets his first from the black side of the board in an exciting
but failed attempt against Topalov in round 6. I already described this
Most exciting games so far. Listed by round.
1) Anand vs. Topalov round 2 -
The battle of the connected passers
2) Topalov vs.
Leko round 4 - Leko Goal Line stand
3) Anand vs. Kasparov
round 6 - Kasparov saves this one with his nerves of steel
4) Topalov vs. Vallejo Pons round 6 - Pawn storms of opposite castle
kings. The first storm to hit loses this race